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Old 11-23-2003, 11:06 AM   #1
ExpressElement
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Painting Plastic Body Panels

I own a Honda Element and I think it has a lot of potential. Too bad the gray plastic body panels are fugly! I want to paint them to match the rest of the car. How would I go about doing this to insure it doesn't peel or crack since the plastic is so flexible? Can I just sand it and prime it? Also, how would I make it smooth so it doesn't show the texture of the plastic? Is fiberglassing it or gel coating it an option and what does that intail? Would it make the panels too large to fit back flush? Anyway, thanks for your input.
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Old 11-23-2003, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

Large panels like that, for best results, get a spray gun and air compressor. You're going to want to scuff the panels, then wet sand them smooth. After that, clean them with rubbing alcohol. Prime the panels, wet sand and clean again. You'll want to do 4-6 coats of paint (which any body shop can mix for you). Wet sand and clean. To help prevent the paint from cracking, you'll want to do about 3 coats of clear coat. Wet sand then wax. After all that, Element will have the look you want and be nice and smooth. You don't have to go through the hassle or expense of fiberglass or gel coat. Paint the panels right with body matching paint, and no one will know that it wasn't a factory option. Word of experience: DO NOT allow silicone based products, dirt, bugs, or little siblings anywhere near your project! Silicone based products include, but are not limited to: colonge, tire shine, vynl protectant, ect. These things WILL cause your fresh paint to fish eye and you'll have to repaint the whole piece again.

So you know, I haven't had hands-on experience with an Element, so I don't know how rough the plastic's texture is. If it's horribly coarse, you could either try body filler, or just sandblast the hell out of it. I'd probably try sandblasting, depending on how thick the plastic is, and how much you would have to sandblast off.
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Old 11-24-2003, 09:40 AM   #3
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Re: Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

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Originally Posted by DarkEternal
Word of experience: DO NOT allow silicone based products, dirt, bugs, or little siblings anywhere near your project!
hahaha I hear that...I know exactly how that is. You are working on something so hard and then bam...little kid fucks it up
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Old 11-25-2003, 11:00 AM   #4
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

gotta love little brats, eh?
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

im gonna suggest this same thing to my mom, who just bought an element, and is complaining about this...also i just saw a guy up at easton (huge mall around columbus) with a slammed ellie with 20's on it. im not usually down with that but this ride looked AWESOME, no lie. they do have a lot of potential, just no one has unleashed it yet...go for it!!
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Old 12-06-2003, 05:56 PM   #6
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

I'm glad I could help out. Especially when I can give an AF Enthusiast a good idea.
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Old 12-06-2003, 11:13 PM   #7
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I actually saw an Element a few weeks ago, painted a custom kandy orange color, with all the plastic body peices painted to match, it actually made a HUGE difference. It looked nice like that. I also saw a forest green Jeep Liberty (another SUV with tons of plastic) with all the plastic body components painted to match, again, it looked real nice and clean like that. Go for it, it makes a huge difference. Speaking of which, no one likes the look of that plastic crap, so why don't they just paint it from the factory, it would look 100 times better.
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:39 AM   #8
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

i get dissapointed when honda does stuff like that. makes me begin to think that theyre competing with trucks like the avalanch...drop the plastic guys...
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:21 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by pheurton-skeurto
i get dissapointed when honda does stuff like that. makes me begin to think that theyre competing with trucks like the avalanch...drop the plastic guys...
Yea, all the plastic body panaling like that just serves to make a car look cheap and low-qaulity, low rent. I mean seriously, if they spent the little extra $$ and painted it fromt he factory, it would look a ton better, which I am sure would help with sales. I mean, if your not an auto enthusiast, then you might baulk at the tough of having to take it somewhere to have them painted after the fact. Besides, I have never met a person whop actually thought all the plastic panaling and trim looked good.
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Old 12-09-2003, 05:33 AM   #10
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after seeing an element i think it kinda looks like a bit of a box on wheels and i dont like them much, well i havent seen one with other than grey pannels and they dont, or havent started selling them in australia so i havent seen one close up only pics online so when or if u do it can u post up some pics, thanks
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Old 12-10-2003, 02:13 PM   #11
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

if you want to get the general idea of them just check out hondas website. as for modded up elles i dont have any pics. check something like cardomain.com for that. theyre shoudl be a few.

the element is a really cool ride. i hated. i mean HATED these things at first and only now am i starting to come around. my mom loaned me hers to take to pittsburg (from columbus, OH) about 3.5 hours and it was th emost comfortable drive ive ever taken. form may not be the best but damn is the function there.
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Old 12-10-2003, 05:22 PM   #12
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Not mine obviously thanks cause i found this painted one l actually like it, i never thought of that site, thanks
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:23 PM   #13
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

Damn! that looks pretty cold! IF Honda sold them like that, I'd probably buy one....
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K&N Air Filter
APC strut bar
APC Performance muffler
generic breathers
ACT Stage 1 Racing Clutch

---~things to come~---

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Old 12-11-2003, 05:15 PM   #14
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oh man... i know what i am going to be convincing my parents to buy. wow they look 500% better like that. Honda should have a "EX" version of the Element like they used to have with the accords. black plastic bumpers on the DX or nice painted to match ones like on the LX and EX ones.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:49 PM   #15
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Re: Painting Plastic Body Panels

I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra, what about the trim, rear bunper, front bumper and front grill?? They are severly faded and are in serious need of some painting. I'm not sure what kind of plastic it is but it looks the same as the kind on the element. Any help??
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